1898: Chinuk Wawa in a Stó:lō hymn book (part 2)

arise my soul arise

(Image credit: Hymnary)

Continuing our mini-series on the Chinook Jargon found in the “Indian Methodist Hymn-Book“…

There’s plenty of “there” there.

Today, Hymn #38:

indian methodist 38.PNG

hymn 38



Get up nika tumtum, 
gitə́p nayka tə́mtəm,
wake.up my heart,
‘Wake up, my heart,’
Mash mika ma-sat-chie, 

     másh mayka mas(h)áchi, [1]
     throw.away your evil.thing,
‘Get rid of your badness,’
Jesus yahka pilpil
djísəs* yaka pílpil [2]
Jesus his blood 

‘Jesus’s blood’
     Ma-kook nika tumtum, 
     mákuk nayka tə́mtəm,
     buy my heart,
‘Pays for my heart,’ 
Yahka mit-lite kopa saghalie, 

yáka mí(t)ɬayt kʰopa sáx̣ali,
he live at above,
‘He lives up above,’
Nika nem tzum kopa yahka le-mah.
nayka ném t’sə́m kʰopa yaka lémá.
my name written on his hand.
‘My name is written on his hands.’


Jesus mit-lite sagh-alie
djísəs* mí(t)ɬayt sáx̣ali
Jesus live above
‘Jesus (who) lives above’
     Ma-mook kla-how-yum nika.
     mamuk-ɬax̣áwyam nayka.
     make-pitiful me.
‘(And) takes pity on me.’
Yahka delate tik-ke
yaka dəléyt tíki
he really want
‘He loves’ 
Kopa kon-away klax-ta.
     kʰopa [3] kʰánawi-ɬáksta.
     to all-who.
‘To [sic] everyone.’
Nika kum-tux Jesus pilpil
nayka kə́mtəks djísəs* pílpil [2]
I know Jesus blood
‘I know Jesus [sic] blood’
Wash konaway-klaxta tumtum.
wásh kʰánawi-ɬáksta tə́mtəm. [2]
to.clean all-who heart.
‘Washes everyone a [sic] heart.’


Jesus kwansum yahka pray
djísəs* kwánsəm yaka pʰréy [4]
Jesus always he pray
‘Jesus always prays’
Kopa yahka Papa,
     kʰopa yaka pápá,
     to his father,
‘To his father,’
Spose mamook klahowyum nika
spos mamuk-ɬax̣áwyam nayka
in.order.to make-pitiful me
‘To have pity on me’ 
Kopa nika tumtum,
     kʰopa nayka tə́mtəm,
     in my heart,
‘For [sic] my heart,’
‘Halo mika sollex Papa’,
“hílu mayka sáliks pápá”,
“not you be.angry father”,
‘ “Don’t be angry, father,” ‘
Kwansum Jesus yahka waw-waw.
kwánsəm djísəs* yaka wáwa. [5]
always Jesus he say.
‘Jesus keeps saying.’

Comments on the preceding:

[1] gitə́p nayka tə́mtəm, másh mayka mas(h)áchi — The first 3 words would be heard by many fluent listeners not as a command (see the original lyrics, below), but as a typical declarative sentence, with the intransitive subject at the end of the clause, i.e. as ‘My heart is awake’. Consequently, the second 3 words would be heard as ‘(And it) throws away your badness’. (Compare the first 2 lines in the 2nd verse.) That’s kind of a puzzling thing to say, admittedly, and I think it would eventually dawn on the listener that the whole sequence is supposed to be commands addressed to “my heart”. But you see, to the best of my knowledge, it’s less typical of Indigenous than of Christian tradition to talk to one’s heart; instead, in Indigenous languages and Chinuk Wawa, I constantly find hearts referred to, since that’s a common idiom for expressing various emotional states. In BC Jargon, especially as spoken by the Native people for whose use these hymn lyrics were intended, a command is typically introduced by the particle (t)łus(h) ‘good’, thus the confusion caused here by the missionary translators attempting to preserve the original musical tune.  All of this is to say that even (and especially) listeners who knew good Chinook Jargon would find these lyrics muddled. 

djísəs* yaka pílpil [2] ‘Jesus’s blood’ is phrased exactly as we’d expect a possessive to be formed in good Jargon; but compare the next verse’s djísəs* pílpil, literally ‘Jesus blood’, which is actually the much more common phrase in Protestant hymns.  In the second verse we also find the similar kʰánawi-ɬáksta tə́mtəm, literally ‘everyone heart’. This business of leaving out the possessive pronoun is an area of Chinuk Wawa grammar that I’ve been researching for some time; it tends to look like “inalienable” possession, as it virtually always involves (A) body parts or (B) things that belong exclusively to God/Jesus. Stay tuned. 

yaka dəléyt tíki kʰopa [3] kʰánawi-ɬáksta — Now, dəléyt tíki (or hayas-tíki) is normal in BC Jargon for ‘love’. But, as in English, this verb just takes a regular old direct object. So the translators’ use of the preposition kʰopa ‘to’ is puzzling, giving a reading ‘he loves to everyone’. 

pʰréy [4] is a typical BC Jargon word, in that it’s a new borrowing from locally spoken English, in this case I think the missionaries’ own speech rather than words that Indigenous people were hearing from Settlers. (There’s ample reason to believe that, as we will be seeing in this mini-series.) This word replaces the older pʰliyé, wáwa-sáx̣ali, etc., as well as another BC Jargon expression, < styuił >

kwánsəm djísəs* yaka wáwa [5], literally ‘Jesus always says’, has in fluent BC Jargon the overtone ‘Jesus keeps on saying’, as if commenting on his nagging. 

Compare the above with the very different original 1742 lyrics by Charles Wesley (here’s a link to a  video of it) :

1. Arise, my soul, arise,
shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice,
in my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Chorus: Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise
Arise, my soul, arise.
Shake off your guilty fears and rise

2. He ever lives above,
for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

3. Five bleeding wounds He bears;
received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

Summary of the above:

What the missionary translators have done with this hymn is

(A) preserve the tune and

(B) accordingly paraphrase the lyrics quite broadly, since Chinuk Wawa couldn’t be expected to have such specialized single words as ‘effectual’ and ‘surety’. Mind you, you can express those same ideas in Jargon, but only by fairly laborious circumlocution. By the way,

(C) : the missionaries only translated the first bit of the original English, which we’ll find is a trend in all of their hymns.

The Jargon used here is identifiable as the BC variety, and it’s largely fluent despite a few stumbles probably caused by attempting to turn an oral language into a literary one.

What do you think?